Young people who have lived with domestic violence/abuse run a much higher risk of being psychologically and emotionally scared and without help can go on to develop risky behaviour, post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and self harming coping mechanisms
Of course this is all behaviour that can also be present for other reasons. Young people in their teenage years can develop difficult or start acting 'out of character' just because they are going through that period in their lives. We all know the teenage years can be extremely difficult and challenging for young people.
So imagine another layer of trauma on top of the 'usual' issues young women and men are working through and that can make the difference between healthy choices and unhealthy ones.
1 in 3 adult mental health conditions relate directly to adverse childhood experiences and domestic violence/abuse in the family home ranks very high in terms of occurrence within adverse childhood experiences.
1 in eight of adults– (Opinium 2018) who witnessed domestic abuse in their family homes as children will go on to say that the impact of the abuse had an immense adverse impact on their childhood. Many go on to say that they felt they could not escape the abuse and that they felt helpless, constantly afraid and confused. These feelings are carried with them into their teenage years as they grow into young adults.
We need to ensure that these young people have access to understanding and acceptance. A major element of our work is helping young women and men to identify the long shadow domestic violence/abuse casts over their lives even as they become more independent from their home environment.
We need to understand that boys and young men are just as affected by living with domestic violence/abuse as girls and young women are but they may need more tailored support
There is a growing body of evidence that living with domestic violence/abuse results in high rates of emotional and psychological trauma. This can manifest itself as anything from withdrawn or attention seeking behaviour. From outward aggression to inward aggression in some cases leading to suicide ideation.
We are working hard to make sure we have support and advocacy ready for any and all young adults who have been living with domestic violence/abuse in their family home.
But it is critical that effective interventions are available to start the healing process.
We must not let young people carry the weight and damage of the violence and abuse they have witnessed and in too many cases directly experienced into their adult lives and relationships